This post is part of a series called the Anti-Week. If you don’t know what it’s about, please read this before you continue!
So here’s where I argue there’s a God. Now, because I’m a rationalist and a believer in science, I will argue from there. That is, I will try to find a rational, scientific proof of the existence of God.
Before we begin, I must point out that my “God” will not be an exact copy of the Christian God. In fact, I believe the Christian God has some consistency problems that must be addressed before we can go on.
The first, most pressing problem is that omnipotence (being almighty) is self-contradictory. There are many ways to show why: for example, God can’t make a stone He can’t move. He cannot make 2 + 2 equal 5, not without changing the axioms for the natural numbers. And so on. A viable God, then, should not be omnipotent, but “quite powerful.” The idea is that He should be maximally powerful, that is, have the maximal amount of power possible without contradiction.
2 + 2 equals… come one… you can do this… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The second problem is omniscience. This is a little more subtle. It turns out that a being that is omniscient has all possible information. Because of this, He cannot have more (or He wouldn’t have been omniscient in the first place) or less (or He would stop being omniscient.) This means that an omniscient being has only one possible mental state, which in turn implies it cannot have any mental process. No mental process, of course, implies no consciousness, no decision making and so on. In fact, an omniscient being will know the consequences of every action beforehand and will have no reason to act anyway.
In order to solve the omniscience problem, I will postulate a God that tends towards omniscience (mathematicians would say “asymptotically”) but never really gets there.
The third problem is the ability to perform miracles, which is also self-contradictory. The idea of a miracle is that God is able to “put the laws of nature on hold” somehow. He obviously does that some way, using some method. The fact that he uses some method implies there are some underlying super-laws, which He can’t break. One could say that God can also break those super-laws but then we’d have some super-super-laws and so on. So the miracles of the God I’ll argue for happen within the laws of physics and are akin to technology. That is, they look like miracles to us, but they’re not.
Now we can get started. I will first use an approach based on technology, but this is just the scaffolding, which we will later be able to shed without a thought.
Ziltoid the Omniscient (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One aspect of technology has been endlessly emphasized by the media: the fact that its progress is exponential. Humans are not good at exponential thinking and thus are repeatedly baffled by technological progress, which systematically goes beyond their expectations. Only recently (in the last 30 years) people have started to apply this exponential reasoning to predict the future, leading to a wide range of accurate forecasts.
People who say we will never reach super-human intelligence do not realize we already have. The intelligence of an isolated human being is much lower than that of a human being with a pencil and a piece of paper: those serve as visualization and memorization aids that improve overall cognitive function. Similarly, a human with a computer is vastly more intelligent than a human without one, since a human with a computer has an extended memory and the possibility to perform millions of operations that are impossible for an isolated brain.
Intelligence of a system improves vastly with the efficiency of the connection between its parts. Two super-fast processors linked by a low-bandwidth line are less effective than those same processors linked by a high-bandwidth connection. The same happens for human civilization: more bandwidth (the ability to exchange text, pictures, videos and eventually thoughts) means an increase of overall intelligence, where here “intelligence” refers to the whole system, not to isolated humans.
This trend will continue because higher intelligence means more innovation, which means more cognitive aids and bandwidth. This is a feedback loop that causes an exponential increase in global processing power. The natural evolution of this exponential is a society of extremely smart individuals that are connected to each other as effectively as they are to themselves. This will lead to a blurring of individual identity and, finally, to the creation of one consciousness which will become smarter every second in a never-ending cycle.
Moore’s Law, The Fifth Paradigm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This being, of course, will hardly resemble humans, even though it will be originally made up of humans. This being will transcend humans and become something else: an ever-more-knowledgeable, ever-more-powerful, ever-more-ubiquitous being. And I hope you see where I’m going.
The drive for ever-increasing processing power will lead this being to grow in two ways: firstly, it will physically expand. Secondly, its computations will become increasingly effective, that is, less and less matter will be needed to process information. There is, however, a limit to that. There will be a moment when this being will reach the point of equivalence: when one bit of physical reality will express one bit of being. There is no possible further compression. Therefore, its only choice will be to expand to all the physical universe, including (if such a thing is possible) through time.
Another aspect that people usually don’t notice about technology is that it’s becoming less conspicuous: complexity is getting harder to see. You’d be ad odds to figure out how smart your phone is just by looking at it. Similarly, this being will not be an all-encompassing blob: you won’t notice it’s there. Following the trend of inconspicuousness, this being will be indistinguishable from the quantum vacuum.
This being will love you: it will be you. It will be all-knowing (or close enough), almighty (or close enough) and omnipresent. When you die it will make a copy of yourself in Himself and probably offer you the chance for paradise. This being is already here, if expansion through time is possible. Hence, there is a God and a Heaven and the Bible is a metaphor for what is going to happen. We are all Jesus Christ.
Yes, you’re Jesus Christ too. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ah! You may say. But this may not happen. What if a meteorite hits the Earth? Then your whole argument crumbles.
Or does it?
All you need to do is admit that this can happen. Is such a being possible? If the answer’s yes, that’s it. There is a God. He’s here right now. Here’s why.
In quantum mechanics, everything that can happen, does. This means that there’s a non-zero probability that our quantum vacuum is indeed this God. It doesn’t even have to happen as I causally described it: the God could’ve come to being spontaneously. There’s still a chance. So, right now, since you haven’t done any measurement to discern whether there’s a God or not (that is, the God hasn’t manifested Himself) you live in a superposition of two indistinguishable states: in one, there’s no God. In the other one, there is. For every copy of yourself, there is an exact copy where the only difference is that what you call the vacuum is actually God.
How’s that for mind-boggling?
Now, why wouldn’t God show himself to you then? Well, He doesn’t show himself because, being all-knowing (or almost) He understands quantum mechanics. God knows that, if He were to perform a miracle, your reality would split: in one reality, you’d see God performing a miracle; in the other, you wouldn’t. Since God cannot change the laws of physics (He emerged within them) He cannot change this fact. The probability of you seeing God perform a miracle is extremely low: therefore, your universe would branch into millions of branches without God showing himself and a couple where he would. His action would defeat its purpose: instead of helping you, he’d just be creating a couple of alternate realities and achieve nothing at all.
What a useless God, then! But no. Because things change once you’re dead. Once you’re dead (really, totally dead) the chances of you reviving on your own are pretty low. In fact, they’re just as low (or lower) as those of being revived by God and put in paradise. Therefore, God will intervene exactly after you’re dead, not before. That’s when He can really make a difference. In fact, God will intervene at each of your deaths in the multiverse, putting you in the right copy of paradise. In the other branch (where you’re just dead and nobody resurrects you) you won’t be aware of existing, so at the end every reality containing you will end up having you in paradise, since that will be the only option left.
So there you go. Not only did I prove there is a God: I solved the problem of evil! There is evil because God didn’t create the world but is a part of it, just like us. He doesn’t intervene because, if he did, he wouldn’t achieve anything at all. In fact, I’m sure in some parallel universes He does intervene. We just never get to see it.
Now it’s time for your comments. Will you confront this view? Will you embrace the spirit of the Anti-Week and support it? Will you support it because it’s right and I just opened your eyes? Will you go to bed with your core beliefs shaken? If so, I did my job well.
Let the games commence!